How can chefs improve their technique?
By James Dacey
A trio of scientists at Monash University have studied footage of a professional chef to calculate the mechanics of the perfect pizza toss. This knowledge, they say, can now be used by engineers to improve the efficiency of micro-machines.
Kuang-Chen Liu and his team say this problem was a variation on the famous bouncing ball on vibrating platform problem. They report that for single dough-tosses, helical motion is best because it maximizes energy efficiency and the dough’s airborne rotational speed. For multiple tosses, they say a semi-elliptical motion is preferred because it is easier to maintain high-speed dough rotation.
Publishing their findings in Europhysics Letters, the researchers say this knowledge could now be used to optimize the design of standing wave ultrasonic motors (SWUM), applications of which include autofocus camera lenses.
“The only difference is that a chef tosses dough about once a second, a few tens of centimetres into the air. A SWUM tosses the rotor a few million times a second into the air,” said James Friend, one of dough-physics experts at Monash.
A strong contender for this year’s Ig Nobel prizes